|Jacob Eliahu Spafford|
Jacob and his parents were converted to Christianity by the "London Jews Society," a missionary group that started in London's East End and established a mission hospital in Jerusalem in the mid-1800s. Jacob was born in Ramallah where his mother went to escape a cholera epidemic in Jerusalem.
|Spafford picnic (1902). Jacob is believed|
to be in the middle with a dark shirt.
|Jacob with his two Spafford sisters|
and unknown girls (circa 1900)
|Hezekiah's inscription. The original tablet|
was chiseled out and taken to the Istanbul
Museum (Credit: Tamar Hayardeni,
As a "local," Bible-steeped young man, Jacob was certainly familiar with the man-made underground water channel discovered in the 1830s from the Gihon Spring to the Silwan pool in Jerusalem.
But it was young Jacob who is credited with recognizing beneath centuries of silt an ancient chiseled tablet on the wall that dated the tunnel to the 8th century BCE and confirmed the massive engineering feat of King Hezekiah.
The inscription reads:
- ... the tunnel ... and this is the story of the tunnel while ... the axes were against each other and while three cubits were left to cut? ... the voice of a man ... called to his counterpart, (for) there was ... in the rock, on the right ... and on the day of the tunnel (being finished) the stonecutters struck each man towards his counterpart, ax against ax and flowed water from the source to the pool for 1200 cubits. and 100?cubits was the height over the head of the stonecutters ...
|From a family album: "Uncle Jacob Spafford, |
adopted son of Horatio and Anna Spafford,
formerly a Jew called Jacob Eliahu."
|Plaque dedicating a wing in Jacob's|
memory at an
American Colony orphanage
|Jacob Spafford's grave on Mt. Scopus|